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Gateway, tomb of Ghiyas-ud-Din Balban (1200-1287) | by oigs
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Gateway, tomb of Ghiyas-ud-Din Balban (1200-1287)

Meherauli, Delhi.


Balban was an Ilbari Turk captured by Mongols and sold as a slave in Ghazni. Later, Sultan Iltutmish bought him 1232 CE, and in a few years Balban became a member of the Chahelgan (a group of forty important) nobles. Balban later served as Amir-e-Shikar (Master of the Hunt) under Raziya Sultana, the daughter of Iltumish. Under Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud (1246-66), who succeded Razia, Balban served as Naib (chief minister) and, in 1266, himself rose to the throne.


Politically, Balban's chief contribution lay in keeping at bay the enemies of the fledgling Sultanate: the Mongols, Jats, Mewatis, and the Rajputs, and in enforcing a strong government. Within a few years of the death of Balban, the sultanate of Delhi passed from the Slaves to the Khaljis, but on a sounder administrative foundation than before. Some of Balban's military campaigns are described in the histories of Amir Khusrau, who himself served in Balban's army.


The tomb of Balban was discovered in the mid-twentieth century. It is an imposing stone and masonry building, though lacking the splendid ornamentation to be seen in the tomb of his master, Iltutmish. The tomb is surrounded by the ruins of an extensive late-medieval settlement and it offers, from certain angles, a remarkable view of the Qutub Minar.


For more photos of Balban's tomb see my set: "Meherauli".


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Taken on August 11, 2006